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AIDS Fears Grow for Black Women
NY Times ^ | April 5, 2004 | LINDA VILLAROSA

Posted on 04/04/2004 9:54:08 PM PDT by neverdem

HOUSTON — Once a week, the five friends, all members of the Abundant Life Cathedral here, get together to eat sushi, sip wine and talk. But one recent afternoon, the women chose a different activity: They went to see "Not a Day Goes By," a musical about black men on the "down low" who, while not calling themselves gay or bisexual, have sex with other men, often behind the backs of their wives and girlfriends.

To these women, it was a subject of increasing urgency.

"Once I found out how prevalent the down low was in our community, I was very afraid," said one of the women, Tracy Scott, a 37-year-old government relations consultant.

Her friend Misha King, 35, said she needed to get as much information as she could, as quickly as she could.

"I've been on field trips to the gay bars and have seen guys that look like men you would date," Ms. King said. "I treat every man as a bisexual because I don't want to end up as the sister with H.I.V."

In the past, concern about black women and AIDS was mainly focused on those who had used drugs or had had sex with users. But increasingly, women like Ms. Scott and her friends have begun to worry, too.

In government studies of 29 states, a black woman was 23 times more likely to be infected with AIDS than was a white woman, and black women accounted for 71.8 percent of new H.I.V. cases in women from 1999 to 2002. Though new cases of H.I.V. among black women have been stable in the past few years, the number of those who have been infected through heterosexual sex has risen.

In 2001, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group focusing on health issues, an estimated 67 percent of black women with AIDS contracted the virus through heterosexual sex, compared with 58 percent four years earlier. Black women accounted for half of all H.I.V. infections acquired through heterosexual sex, in men or women, from 1999 to 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Though heterosexual transmission has risen for all women, researchers say a black woman has a greater chance of coming into contact with the virus when she has sex with another black person because, compared with the general population, there is a higher rate of H.I.V. among black Americans.

Recent studies suggest that 30 percent of all black bisexual men may be infected with H.I.V., and up to 90 percent of those men do not know they are infected. Researchers for the Centers for Disease Control have referred to these men as a "bridge" to infection from gay men to heterosexual women.

In February, health officials identified a fast-spreading outbreak of infections among 84 men, primarily black students at 37 colleges in North Carolina. The majority were infected through sex with other men, but a third reported that they had had sex with men and women.

"What we learned from the research we did with college men here is the potential for H.I.V. to enter the mainstream population of the black community," said Dr. Peter Leone, medical director of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services H.I.V. prevention unit and a co-author of a study of the 84 men.

"This is a big change and may be a defining moment," Dr. Leone added. "I don't mean to sound like Chicken Little, but if we don't react to this very quickly and aggressively, it'll be like the 80's all over again. Instead of gay white men, though, we'll be dealing with large numbers of young black men and their female partners."

The fear of H.I.V. among blacks is not new, and the down low has been part of the black lexicon at least since the mid-1990's, when E. Lynn Harris's novels about bisexual black men who lead double lives first appeared on best-seller lists.

AIDS prevention efforts have generally focused on drug users and men who have sex with men. But the North Carolina findings made it clear that H.I.V. had the potential to spread to a wider circle of blacks. In particular, the new research has alarmed black women. Now in online chat rooms, at book clubs, on radio call-in shows and in whispered conversations with friends, many are trying to piece together information to figure out if men, whether one-night stands or their husbands, may have secret lives putting them at risk.

"H.I.V./AIDS is a disease of opportunity, not socioeconomics," said Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles. "The research out of North Carolina reveals that among black folks, no matter who you are or who you think you are, you are not safe from H.I.V."

Dr. Robert S. Janssen, director of the Centers for Disease Control's divisions of H.I.V./AIDS prevention, warned that evidence was lacking about what was driving infection in black women.

"Yes, the risk of contracting H.I.V. is highest in the African-American community and there's no question black women are at higher risk compared to other women, but there's still a lot we don't understand," Dr. Janssen said.

"However, we are concerned enough to tell women of all socioeconomic groups to ask their partners about their sero status and if they are having sex with men," he said, referring to H.I.V. status.

A tangle of factors heightens the risk for black women.

No one knows for sure how much the spread of the AIDS virus among blacks can be attributed to the behavior of bisexual men. Some reports have suggested that black men are more likely to keep their bisexuality a secret for a variety of reasons, but that, too, is hard to quantify.

Still, researchers say it comes down to a numbers game: blacks make up roughly 12 percent of the nation's population but in 2002 accounted for 42 percent of people living with AIDS and more than half of all new infections. Blacks tend to have sexual relations with other blacks, experts say, which works to confine the virus within the African-American "sexual network."

"A high prevalence of infection in the pool of potential partners can spread sexually transmitted infections rapidly within the ethnic group and keep it there," said Dr. Adaora A. Adimora, an infectious disease physician and associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

She and others cite several other factors. Perhaps the most vexing may be the shortage of black men as potential partners. This gender gap, experts say, may lead black women to make unsafe sexual decisions and raise their risk of infection.

"Large numbers of black men are in prison, or unemployed, or dead, so there is simply a smaller pool of available partners to choose from," said Dr. Gail E. Wyatt, a psychiatry professor and an associate director of the University of California, Los Angeles, AIDS Institute. "So while women are quite concerned about being infected with H.I.V., the threat of death is not enough to persuade black women to protect themselves if it means being alone, childless and with less income."

Though women outnumber men in the general population, the gap is wider among blacks. According to 2002 census data, there are 12.6 million black women 21 or older, compared with 9.9 million black men. On college campuses, the numbers are particularly lopsided: in 2000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than one million black women were enrolled in degree-granting institutions, compared with 635,000 black men.

"Many of the women on campus are panic-stricken because of the feeling of scarcity," said Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, professor of women's studies and English at Spelman College in Atlanta. "This shortage of desirable partners creates a sense of desperation. I see a lot of problematic sexual decision-making among black women across class and age lines."

The shortage of available black men can contribute to the spread of H.I.V. in other ways.

"Because of the lack of marriageable black men, marriage rates have dropped among African-Americans," said Dr. Edward O. Laumann, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and an editor of the new book "The Sexual Organization of the City." In 2002, according to the census, 37.7 percent of black men 15 or older were married and living with their spouses, compared with 58.5 percent of white men. Among women 15 or older, 29.2 percent of blacks were married and living with their spouses, compared with 54.3 percent of whites.

"When marriage rates are low, there is a higher likelihood of concurrence — the pattern of having more than one partner at the same time," Dr. Laumann said. "The less educated and the higher educated are more likely to be in these kinds of fragile relationships, which can facilitate the spread of sexually transmitted diseases."

Dr. Adimora said the research did not suggest greater promiscuity among blacks. "No one is saying that black people don't care about long-term, stable relationships," she said. "But the lower number of economically viable black men destabilizes marriage and long-term partnering. One pattern is the man who has sex with one girlfriend, goes back to a previous girlfriend and then returns to the new one. This kind of pattern can increase H.I.V. spread."

Vanessa Johnson said she wished she had been more careful a decade ago. She did not learn that her boyfriend and the father of her son was bisexual until he contracted an AIDS-related illness. She learned she had H.I.V. in 1990, right after she graduated from law school.

"I understood that there was a possibility he was seeing other people, but I was willing to overlook it," said Ms. Johnson, now 46, who is deputy director of the Capital District African American Coalition on AIDS in Albany.

Ms. Johnson said that she forgave her boyfriend, who died in 1994.

"His infection most likely came from having sex with another man," she said, "but he was afraid to say that."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: California; US: Georgia; US: Illinois; US: New York; US: North Carolina; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: africanamericans; aids; bisexuality; downlow; hiv; hivaids; homosexuals

1 posted on 04/04/2004 9:54:08 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
Sex...JUST SAY NO. I do not understand anal sex at all. I had college biology. YUCK!
2 posted on 04/04/2004 9:55:49 PM PDT by cyborg (Frankenfreude radio death watch has commenced)
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To: neverdem
In government studies of 29 states, a black woman was 23 times more likely to be infected with AIDS than was a white woman, and black women accounted for 71.8 percent of new H.I.V. cases in women from 1999 to 2002.

Oh those racist statistics!

3 posted on 04/04/2004 9:58:03 PM PDT by freebilly
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To: All


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4 posted on 04/04/2004 9:58:04 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: neverdem
Stunning how much ignorance there is about this subject in defiance of all the news and public service information we are bombarded with. You'd have to be a Martian or a moron not to know enough about the virus to have taken precaution or to have modified behavior. That this knowledge does not penetrate the black community is just shocking.
5 posted on 04/04/2004 9:59:39 PM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken (Seldom right, never in doubt!)
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To: neverdem
I feel very sorry for black women. I have a close friend who is a black physician. She can never find a moderately successful, educated middle-aged black man who is not already married and who will treat her as she deserves. There are good college-educated black men, but they're outnumbered and the competition for them is stiff.

Black women need to (1) put their legs together and not put out for black men who behave badly, and (2) maybe start looking further afield, like to white and Hispanic men. There are plenty of white men who find black women attractive.

6 posted on 04/04/2004 10:02:21 PM PDT by Capriole (DO NOT WRITE IN THIS SPACE. FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.)
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To: neverdem
In February, health officials identified a fast-spreading outbreak of infections among 84 men, primarily black students at 37 colleges in North Carolina. The majority were infected through sex with other men, but a third reported that they had had sex with men and women....

"This is a big change and may be a defining moment," Dr. Leone added. "I don't mean to sound like Chicken Little, but if we don't react to this very quickly and aggressively, it'll be like the 80's all over again. Instead of gay white men, though, we'll be dealing with large numbers of young black men and their female partners."

The majority were infected through sex with other men, but a third reported that they had sex with men and women...?

Sounds to me like they were all infected through gay sex....

7 posted on 04/04/2004 10:02:30 PM PDT by freebilly
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To: fourdeuce82d; Travis McGee; El Gato; JudyB1938; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; ...
PING
8 posted on 04/04/2004 10:03:20 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: freebilly
BET had a special on homosexuality and AIDS. It was pretty telling. It was not pro-homosexual either, but more like 'well if we know about it then we can stop men from having sex with other men'. Sounds to me like general immorality, it just so happens that the Slimes reported on black folk.
9 posted on 04/04/2004 10:06:21 PM PDT by cyborg (Frankenfreude radio death watch has commenced)
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To: cyborg
I do not understand anal sex at all

It's not something to stand under....

10 posted on 04/04/2004 10:08:21 PM PDT by freebilly
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To: freebilly
BTW, no one in any discussion on AIDS wants to talk about the real solution to the crisis and that's behavior modification, monogamous sex with one person and no needles. Oh well.
11 posted on 04/04/2004 10:08:29 PM PDT by cyborg (Frankenfreude radio death watch has commenced)
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To: freebilly
Not at all LOL
12 posted on 04/04/2004 10:08:47 PM PDT by cyborg (Frankenfreude radio death watch has commenced)
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To: neverdem; mhking
BC ping.... btw I'm not sure if I heard correctly but this week on Err America they are supposed to be dealing with this issue. I'll believe it when I hear it.
13 posted on 04/04/2004 10:12:28 PM PDT by cyborg (Frankenfreude radio death watch has commenced)
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To: Capriole
?
14 posted on 04/04/2004 10:14:20 PM PDT by KingNo155
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To: neverdem
The government thought that education could halt AIDS. But unfortunately the education had to be Politically Correct, therefore the educational material could not say that AIDS is contracted almost exclusively from dirty needles and gay/bi males. Black women could not be warned against having sex with bisexual men, but rather were told that we are all equally at risk.
15 posted on 04/04/2004 10:16:57 PM PDT by bayourod (To 9/11 Commission: Unless you know where those WMDs are, don't bet my life that they don't exist.)
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To: cyborg
BTW, no one in any discussion on AIDS wants to talk about the real solution to the crisis and that's behavior modification, monogamous sex with one person and no needles. Oh well.

Well, that would be hate speech. It's better to spend billions of dollars on needle exchange programs, condom giveaways, free HIV testing of hookers, sex ed programs from grades K through 12, and publishing brochures and pamphlets on the hows of safe sex than it is to teach morality....

16 posted on 04/04/2004 10:18:19 PM PDT by freebilly
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To: freebilly
And you thought it was only in the NBA where a black man could get down low on the low post....
17 posted on 04/04/2004 10:22:44 PM PDT by freebilly
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To: freebilly
Preaching safe sex and do whatever feels good is hate speech IMHO. It's hate against the human body, the human race. I think such messages tie too close to religion and no one in this gay sex/hetero whatever wants to admit there's someone superior to themselves.
18 posted on 04/04/2004 10:22:51 PM PDT by cyborg (Frankenfreude radio death watch has commenced)
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To: neverdem
while not calling themselves gay or bisexual, have sex with other men,

They have to be. Else they wouldn't be back door men to put it bluntly. Where's that Sam Kinison skit? It's real fitting.

19 posted on 04/04/2004 10:23:47 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("My governor don't got the answer")
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To: cyborg
You, my dear cyborg, are right, right, right!
20 posted on 04/04/2004 10:27:48 PM PDT by freebilly
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To: Capriole
Don't feel to sorry for black women. They can date outside their race, after all, if prospects in their race are not to their liking.

Ain't no law against it.
21 posted on 04/04/2004 10:30:06 PM PDT by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: HitmanNY
I don't feel sorry for people who have lots of choices. Besides that's a pathetic excuse. I meet nice single black men and those women are the first to call them GAY because they go to church too much,etc. Picky picky picky...
22 posted on 04/04/2004 10:33:53 PM PDT by cyborg (Frankenfreude radio death watch has commenced)
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: Dan from Michigan
Where's that Sam Kinison skit? It's real fitting.

I'm not familiar with it. What did I miss, and where did I miss it?

24 posted on 04/04/2004 10:34:57 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
I heard it on Yahoo/SBC Internet Radio. I forgot the title, but it was funny and BLUNT.
25 posted on 04/04/2004 10:37:08 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("My governor don't got the answer")
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To: Karl Laforce
LOL I sort of figured it out
26 posted on 04/04/2004 10:37:44 PM PDT by cyborg (Frankenfreude radio death watch has commenced)
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To: HitmanNY
That's just what I said in the last line of my post: if there aren't enough educated black men to go around to all the educated black women, the black women are going to have to start looking elsewhere. But lowering their standards and making babies with bisexual, AIDS-infected black men is not the way to go!
27 posted on 04/04/2004 10:51:31 PM PDT by Capriole (DO NOT WRITE IN THIS SPACE. FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.)
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To: cyborg
I'm with you. I am good friends with a very attractive (model caliber) african american young woman. She has been single and without a steady boyfriend for all of her 20s. She invariably finds something wrong with any man who courts her. She has shown amazing reluctance to date outside her race, which I can understand, but she seems very happy continuing on her pattern.

I used to feel sorry for her, but I no longer do. I do hope she meets a good man who is to her taste.
28 posted on 04/04/2004 10:56:12 PM PDT by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: Capriole
I agree. I can understand a strong preference for african american women to date and find a companion within their race, though. Thankfully, there isn't the stigma attached to biracial couples that there was even 30 years ago.
29 posted on 04/04/2004 10:59:44 PM PDT by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: neverdem
in 2000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than one million black women were enrolled in degree-granting institutions, compared with 635,000 black men.

This is an incredibly destabilizing statistic. It virtually guarantees promiscuity among men. Throw in the observation that most of the interracial couples I see are black men with women of another race, and we have an even greater shortage of educated, eligible black men.

30 posted on 04/04/2004 11:15:01 PM PDT by CurlyDave
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To: All
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1111156/posts
related thread
31 posted on 04/04/2004 11:22:57 PM PDT by cyborg (Frankenfreude radio death watch has commenced)
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To: neverdem
Are there more bisexuals among African Americans? I don't understand...
32 posted on 04/05/2004 1:42:07 AM PDT by Pharmboy (History's greatest agent for freedom: The US Armed Forces)
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To: Pharmboy
Are there more bisexuals among African Americans? I don't understand...

I believe that being gay or bisexual was much less accepted in African Americans. So it never recieved the attention it deserved. Not to mention the propaganda campaign that it's normal and natural.

33 posted on 04/05/2004 2:05:51 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...
Black conservative ping

If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)

Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.

34 posted on 04/05/2004 3:36:59 AM PDT by mhking
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To: Capriole
I am single successful and of the problems that black women have are self perpetuating. As a black man I see this happening on a frequent basis. Go to the local mall or supermarket and observe how the women treat their male sons. The antagonism is endless. I often her the laments of black women saying they want a strong black man. When they get a man of such qualifications they have said he's to stubborn or to career driven or set in his ways. Are those the qualities that make a man strong? Oh I forgot he is a conservative too.

I tell the woman you want to see what type of man that you have tell him no sex period make him concentrate on other aspects of the relationship. I hear the "sistas" say you got to test drive before making the commitment." Well there are not enough cars to be driven then.

Yes black men have their problems but how many black women have turned down that blue collar hard working man and went for the MBA that is a cad or a heal?

35 posted on 04/05/2004 4:03:31 AM PDT by Warrior Nurse (Black liberals practice intellectual apartheid when in comes to black conservatives!)
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To: neverdem
Yes, the risk of contracting H.I.V. is highest in the African-American community and there's no question black women are at higher risk compared to other women, but there's still a lot we don't understand," Dr. Janssen said.

We don't yet understand how HIV is spread? Where's this guy been for the last 25 years? And he's a DOCTOR? Great!

36 posted on 04/05/2004 5:17:07 AM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: Warrior Nurse
If a black woman doesn't want you, honey, she is effin' NUTS. You are a treasure and if I weren't taken now I'd be sending you cute little emails myself. Let the black girls fend for themselves. God bless you in your service.
37 posted on 04/05/2004 6:53:01 AM PDT by Capriole (DO NOT WRITE IN THIS SPACE. FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.)
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To: Capriole
You humble me with your statement. As for me I don't just date black women why should I eliminate 3/4ths of the female population. I have expanded my dating paradigm but you know I get grief from black women for that statement as well. You will hear that when a black man becomes successful he gets that white woman for a wife. My response hey that is his choice and if they would stop with all the drama and attitude then they would be able to "keep" their men. Dr Laura says it all in her latest book.
38 posted on 04/05/2004 7:04:32 AM PDT by Warrior Nurse (Black liberals practice intellectual apartheid when in comes to black conservatives!)
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To: Warrior Nurse
Good for you! I saw you in the CPAC reports (my daughter was there) and you're CUTE :-).
39 posted on 04/05/2004 7:11:12 AM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: Tax-chick
You have me blushing thank you.
40 posted on 04/05/2004 7:34:46 AM PDT by Warrior Nurse (Black liberals practice intellectual apartheid when in comes to black conservatives!)
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To: Warrior Nurse
This whole discussion is as sad as it is hilarious.

Here is a black man saying that he dates white women because too many black women are displaying drama and attitude, while the white men on this forum say that they despise white women and want to date Asians and Latinas because the white women are full of drama and attitude. So who are the Asian men are going to date, Antarcticans?

I do believe that half the problems in the world would be solved if (a) single mothers did not so often spoil their little boys, who grow up to be problem men, and (b) every woman was required by law to study Dr. Laura's book, which is a font of wisdom. If a woman puts into operation the stuff that's in that book and her man is not happy, he's a crazy loser and she should move on to someone sane. Then she would have a happy stable marriage and her sons would grow up with fathers in the house so they would not be spoiled and we would not hav enother generation of unmarriageable problem boy/men. That is not a racial issue but a social issue of enormous import for this nation.

41 posted on 04/05/2004 7:50:01 AM PDT by Capriole (DO NOT WRITE IN THIS SPACE. FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.)
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To: HitmanNY
Although this may not be typical, I was protesting at the White House when I was confronted by a black couple who told me that everyone commits adultery. When I stated that I had never even so much as kissed another woman after I married, they refused to believe it. They could not even comprehend fidelity.

I thought it was an anomoly until the Clinton Scandal heated up. Then came Jesse Jackson's baby. And suddenly, people in the black community were all saying "Everyone does it".
42 posted on 04/05/2004 7:56:39 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: Capriole
You are so right the feminazis and their ilk have gone on to emasculate me. Remember when the standard answer for a little boy growing up was that I wanted to be a police or fireman or soldier. Are we hearing that response now? We have gone full circle now the women that wanted the brass ring went out and got it but at what cost? When men act like men they get their testicles chopped off and put in a lock box.

This is what is happening when you take the natural aggressiveness of boys and try to feminize them. Bring back dodge ball and cops and robbers. You married women out here know how to keep your husbands happy. No need to go into detail.

43 posted on 04/05/2004 8:02:05 AM PDT by Warrior Nurse (Black liberals practice intellectual apartheid when in comes to black conservatives!)
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To: neverdem
*smh*

How hard is it to just NOT HAVE SEX?? I don't get it. I mean, you need food, you need water, you DON'T NEED sex! As a black woman, I'm saddened by this rise in AIDS in my community by this means. And some wish to blame these men's lack of honesty on "homophobia" in the Black community. Yeah, sure, whatever. It's getting to the point where I will have to tell my daughter when she gets older (she's fifteen) to carry a health questionnaire to give to any man who is interested in her! Sad! Really sad!
44 posted on 04/05/2004 1:31:36 PM PDT by Sister_T (Democrats AND The Partisan Press are the REAL enemies to freedom in the world!)
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To: neverdem
"This is a big change and may be a defining moment," Dr. Leone added. "I don't mean to sound like Chicken Little, but if we don't react to this very quickly and aggressively, it'll be like the 80's all over again. Instead of gay white men, though, we'll be dealing with large numbers of young black men and their female partners."

Ah, the '80s . . . wasn't that when the big AIDS epidemic didn't happen?
45 posted on 04/05/2004 1:33:45 PM PDT by Xenalyte (in memory of James Edward Peck, my grandfather, who passed on 3/23/04)
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To: Warrior Nurse
Hmm, you are handsome. And your conservatism wouldn't scare me. And you're a military man too. Some pluses.

But since I'm already married to a Black man who isn't scared of the "drama and attitude" I may have, oh well. And, given your statements about black women, even if I weren't married it doesn't sound like I'd stand a chance anyway.

C'est la vie!
46 posted on 04/05/2004 1:43:31 PM PDT by Sister_T (Democrats AND The Partisan Press are the REAL enemies to freedom in the world!)
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To: Capriole
Most of the good guys are already married because girls like me snathched them up in college but you are correct.It is time for black women to start looking farther afield.
47 posted on 04/07/2004 4:26:55 AM PDT by thathamiltonwoman
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